Life Lately – Summer 2020


Hello again friends! I certainly didn’t plan to take a 3-month hiatus from my Life Lately series but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, life has been a little bit unpredictable lately.

I went back to see what I wrote in my March post thinking I’d be in a much different headspace but my mind remains a jumble of emotions and numbness, as I wrote at the time. Thankfully, my emotions are being driven less by frazzled adrenaline and the numbness now stems more from acceptance than denial, so I guess that’s progress, right?

As I’m sure is the case for many, this summer has challenged me in ways that I never could have anticipated. This has been a season of survival and growth, which in turn have revealed new areas of strength and purpose. I’ve finally been able to wrap my head around some of it and thought it was time to touch base with you!

For this life lately I’ll be sharing:

  • Bright spots from the last few months (+ deck reno preview & my favourite foliage photo, possibly ever!)
  • A few honest low points
  • My favourite four-pawed pals
  • How my 5 words of 2020 are resonating these days.
  • + A very sneaky peek of an upcoming collab

Do join me if you’ve got a few moments to spare!



There’s nothing like a tasty breakfast (yes we have corn for breakfast ha!) with a fresh coffee before the day heats up.


Our resident robins returned to raise a new set of babies this year. It was such a joy to hear them chirp and see their fuzzy heads bobbing about in the nest. They fledged about a week ago but hopefully they’ll be back next year!


Basil in May vs July. We’ve enjoyed A LOT of pesto and many salads this summer. Harvesting from the garden is such a pleasure and I’m so grateful to have this opportunity. Not everything we planted took, like our terribly bitter radishes and a sad display of peas but we’ll give it another go next spring.


Our magnolia has been a fickle tree in the past but this spring was her best yet during our time together. I think the grass fertilizer gave her a much needed boost.

Our peony bushes also had a boom bloom season. At one point I counted over 75 buds and it was such a treat to walk out each morning with a coffee to see what had happened overnight. These are a few shots of them in their prime.


Nothing beats a weekend away with good company (even if we’re always 6 ft apart).


Dave, Dobby and I go on walks every weekend and the boys are very patient while I stop for photos of the prettiest flowers and plants.


More to come on our patio renovation (very soon!) but to say this space has changed our lives is no overstatement.

We’ve been able to have friends & family for socially distanced visits, work outside and spend every chance we get in the open air. We don’t take a moment of it for granted.

If all goes as planned I’ll be shooting the full reveal of this space next week with a blog post and more to follow shortly after! Furniture is from Article Arca couch, chairs, dining table & chairs (gifted).


During a walk along the Speed River with a friend we came across what I believe is iresine (aka. purple lady but I could be wrong) and I was captivated by it’s deep, dark leaves and scalloped edges. I usually shy away from low lighting and shadowy places but this shot is one of my personal favourites.


Because let’s be honest, it hasn’t been all flowers and giggles these days.


I often feel as thought I shouldn’t lament about anything because of all the privileges I’ve been given. That said, I think it’s important to be open and honest about mental health struggles because depression and/or anxiety really don’t care how good your life may look from the outside. As a recovering perfectionist, I have to constantly push back against an innate desire to appear as though everything is good, even to those I’m closest with.

The truth is that during these last few months my mental health has been suffering. This is partly why I haven’t done a life lately post, because I haven’t had the capacity to process what’s been happening around the world. I’ve felt overwhelmed, frazzled and drained, unable to stay focused or make decisions. Those who’ve suffered with depression and/or anxiety know how the feelings of depletion and futility can take their toll.

I’m very fortunate to have support around me, access to professional help and a repertoire of coping mechanisms to get me through. It also helps to remember that just like the bright spots, the lows come and go too.

Currently, my mental health is on an upswing as I’ve gotten back into a routine of meditation and exercise and I’m finally feeling capable of collecting my thoughts.

This is all to say, if you’re having a hard time with your mental wellness, please know you’re not alone. There is an incredible new initiative from the Health Canada called Wellness Together, which offers 24/7 access to free mental health support including one to one counselling and so much more. It’s really amazing. If you need immediate support, simply text WELLNESS to 741741 to reach a mental health specialist.

If you’re looking for some quick mood boosting remedies this post (and the account in general) is one I refer to often. I also find the words of Lisa Olivera incredibly comforting and affirming.


Of course, the state of the world and all the horrific events in recent weeks & months are collectively weighing us down. These personal lows are trivial in comparison (for which I’m grateful) but I felt it would be helpful to share in case anyone reading has faced similar feelings and choices.

Elizabeth Suzann | When Liz Pape announced that Elizabeth Suzann would be closing due to the impacts of the pandemic on her business, I was in shock. That shock soon settled into sadness and it still feels surreal if I’m honest. It may seem silly to be upset about a clothing brand closing amongst so much other tragedy but ES has been such an important part of not just my style and closet but the philosophy behind my work and the entire community here on Style Bee. I’m remaining hopeful that the ES story isn’t over and grateful for the impact that Liz’s work has had on my life. The Clothing is Political series is a must read.

Interior Design School | I made the difficult decision to quit interior design school. I’ve quit very few things in my life and was feeling a bit ashamed to share this with you all after being so excited about this new chapter and where it might lead. When the quarantine went into effect, my priorities became crystal clear and I knew I had to make a hard choice. I’m glad I made the decision to press pause and I know that this isn’t the end of the road for my love of interiors.

Creative Burnout | I feel guilty for even mentioning work in a negative light because I genuinely love what I do and I know how privileged I am to have a means of income at all right now. The reality is that even a dream job is still work and when it’s all on you to keep the wheels turning, the path forward can be hard to decipher.

I feel as though I’ve been in a fog with work for the last few months and maybe even longer. I’ve been moving through the motions with short spurts of motivation that are inevitably followed by deep creative burnout and comparison paralysis.

To interrupt this rhythm I’ve decided to cut down on the number of partnerships I usually take on for the fall season. It is always scary, especially in a pandemic, to say no to work opportunities but I really think some space for more personal projects will help me start to steer the ship again instead of just letting the current take control.

Do excuse all the mashed up metaphors lol.


This furry duo is the bright spot in every day and they always have us laughing. Evie with her lazy bedroom antics and Dobby with his general quirks and strong opinions. I genuinely don’t know what we’d do without these two characters around to keep us from taking life too seriously.


NATURE – I feel as though I’ve been able to connect with nature much more than usual this summer. It has been my daily respite from the news and noise of the world. Without the packed social schedule, there has been time to give the little things more appreciation. Instead of the usual blur that the summer rushes past in, I’ve had the chance to savour each week. Noticing every new bloom around the neighbourhood and the changing light helps me live in the moment more.

FOCUS – What focus lol? My mind has felt pulled in so many directions with the capacity to follow through on next to nothing but I realize this is all a symptom of pandemic life. When I look back at what I’ve accomplished this summer, I’m actually pretty impressed with just how much focus was required to make things happen.

GRATITUDE – I’ve been trying to maintain a daily gratitude practice, which involves simply acknowledging three things I’m grateful for. Today, I’m grateful for:

  • Change and the fact that it’s the only constant. As a Taurus I never thought I’d say that!
  • Movement and the privilege of a body that carries me through this world, despite my not always prioritizing its care.
  • My partner Dave. A man that works as hard as he plays and is constantly showing my what it means to pursue your goals. He’s just started a new client project and isn’t home all day with us anymore. As much as I love my alone time, we miss having him here.

CREATE – Right now my sense of what it means to “create” is in flux. A lot of the projects I’ve been chipping away at all year are starting to take shape and this is very exciting! See a sneak peek at one of them below.

TRUST – The sentiment that’s been aligning with trust for me is, FIND WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY & GO THERE. These words from Jan Philips have been top of mind these days. I’m trusting that making space for joy will never be a waste of time.


Next week I’ll be sharing more about a collaboration with an independent designer I love. This project has definitely been a bright spot in between the lows of pandemic life and recent events. It’s been so fun to bring an idea to life and I hope you’ll tune in on Wednesday, August 19th for the full story!

THANKS FOR JOINING ME FOR A LIFE LATELY. I’d love to hear how you’re doing these days too!

Any bright spots, low points or sentiments that you’d care to share?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Leave me a comment here!

  1. kirra says:

    Thanks for sharing this post Lee, you always write so well and it’s nice to hear how you’re going. I love seeing your pets on instagram (as someone who doesn’t have a pet) and also your flower photos. I hope you’ve had a good summer and enjoy the benefits of your decisions to manage your workload, including stopping study. This is something I think lots of us can work on, I know I’m trying to not over do the workload too!

  2. Lee the Bee says:

    Thank you so much for your comments. I meant to respond to everyone individually but please know your support and love is felt. Our Style Bee community is so special and I’m deeply grateful for you all! Sending love and wishing you a safe and happy end of summer 2020. xo

  3. Alexandra says:

    Hi Lee,

    Thank you for sharing so openly. I have been following your blog for years, and have always drawn so much inspiration from it. Because of the pandemic I have had to put a move across the country on indefinite hold, which was heartbreaking at first. On the up side, I have taught myself how to sew my own clothing during this time! It has become my primary creative venture, and I am so grateful to have such a hobby. Your backyard patio looks absolutely wonderful! Can’t wait to see more.

  4. Mary Grogan says:

    What a beautiful post. I am retired, my husband still works, enjoying my alone time as well as time with him. Was also saddened by ES but not surprised as her things were beautiful but expensive. In hard times it is difficult for people to afford this type of clothing. I do have her linen dress and love it, but it was a splurge, even at my age. My emotions have been all over the place as well, but between music, nature, reading, meditating, photography and occasional socially distanced visits with close friends, am hanging in there. Sometimes a glass of wine helps. Love your style, your photography, and especially the picture of you sniffing the saucer magnolia with your hair very natural. I especially like your photograph of the dark coleus. You have a good eye for style and pictures.

  5. Anna says:

    Dear Lee,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and deep concerns.
    It might be not much but I wanted to reach out and share with you my support. We all face our own demons, and they are rarely so simple as to be a single incident or issue. Instead, it is a snowball effect which grows, quickly overwhelming everything we enjoy and love. It is important to reach out, to be heard, and to know you are supported. We are all traveling down the same river together. Sometimes comfortably in a raft, other times we are thrown into the rapids and must make our way back. All those still in the raft can paddle closer to make it easier for us, and when we are in the raft we can paddle too. I want to let you know that I support you, I am impressed by your humility and self-awareness, and want you to know that you are heard.
    Thank you for keeping to hang on for the sake of all of us. You are a wonderful, beautiful, kind and courageous person.

  6. Anne says:

    I’m new to your blog, but I think I definitely needed this entry.

    I’ve been feeling anxious and tired emotionally, but I feel better and lighter after reading this.

    A realization of my priorities, my accomplishments during this pandemic…

    I’m going to be more focused on what gives me joy and gratefulness.

    Your furry companions are adorable!

  7. Shelby says:

    Thank you for sharing so candidly with us how the last few months have been. You continue to be such an inspiration to me! Grateful you’ve had space to take care of yourself during such a challenging time in our history. ♥️

  8. Onna says:

    The black foilage… I think it is a variety of coleus

    I am so new to your blog- I’ve been reading some of your old style stuff hoping to get serious about my clothes, and it is really refreshing to see you discovering the world outside the fabrics and shoes.

  9. Patricia Kay says:

    Ahhhh! Let the Light shine on the darkness!
    Light exposes what troubles us. Face it. Name it. Congrats on the exposure & the naming…..AND! the willing to be willing to reach for, grab onto, & fly with JOY, for it is our strength.
    Grateful for your honesty.
    Grateful for pictures of Joy❤️🙌🏻❤️
    Grateful for the beauty you exude in & through the textures & colors you wear🍃
    I am listening….

  10. Brenda says:

    This post resonates so much with me. For so many reasons, and I appreciate you addressing it here. It really helps to know that I’m not alone.

    I am really looking forward to seeing your patio reveal! I have been wanting to get a gas fire pit since the beginning of summer but they all sold out so fast!! Anything outdoor related was gone in a flash, probably because people knew that’s where their time would be spent in the coming months!!

  11. Alessandra Reid says:

    Your mental health struggles and lack of focus really resonated with me. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety as well during this pandemic and it’s make working from home incredibly difficult (I’m an extrovert and prefer to work with other people). It feels like sometimes my attention span is zero. It’s nice to know that others are also struggling. We’re all in this pandemic together.

    Can’t wait to see what you did to your backyard! Looks gorgeous!

    Thank you for sharing.

  12. Deanne says:

    I’ve missed your posts! It has indeed been a very difficult time, and I think we all have our hard days. It’s okay to admit this, and I think healthy to do so. I can’t let go of watching the news to stay informed, but know that it can also make things more difficult to see all the suffering.
    We acknowledge daily that we are so fortunate, so blessed, to still be healthy, and doing that helps. A little boredom with staying home is a small price to pay to do our part in controlling the spread of coronavirus. I live very near the corner where George Floyd was killed, and my community has suffered these past weeks. Donating food and essential supplies to those whose lives were disrupted by the riots and looting is one way to act, so I do that. We too have a beautiful yard and spend as much time as we can outside. I noticed you have gooseneck loosestrife! We love those.
    Fall is my favorite season, but this year it will mean the loss of time spent outside. Trying to savor the last few weeks of summer!

  13. Kathleen says:

    I loved your post as always. Your contemplative/reflective mood is so deliciously expressed along with your struggles re mental health which I deeply appreciate as I’m sure many others will. I speak with many clients who are struggling as well with all you’ve described: The challenge to keep up their spirits, that they will see their dreams realized someday, that this too will pass – all so eloquently expressed in your post.

    I was sorry to read about the closing of ES too. I’m an active part of the home sewing tribe and learned early about ES’s generous offer to download her clothing patterns to the sewing community. The rush to download them caused such a kurfluffle she has pulled them back BUT joyfully she will be re-releasing them at a future date with instructions and accompanying tutorials. Part of her plans to reconfigure her business which is exciting and encouraging for us all 🙂 Our sewing our own clothing tribe is growing in leaps and bounds which is so heart warming to see. I worried that the joys of this craft might get lost in younger generations as fast fashion was becoming more and more the norm (I’m 65) We’ve been discussing the empowerment of sewing your own clothes and how it serves as the best mental health medicine imaginable so your post is timely on so many fronts this weekend.

    I wish you all the best and continued upswing in your beautiful environment! Your home exudes such a feeling of peace.

  14. Megan says:

    Your backyard is beautiful! And your photos really give the feeling of appreciating nature, change and growth in the garden, and savoring a delicious breakfast outdoors. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs–and please don’t think that it’s silly and privileged to share thoughts and ideas on style during these troubled times–even if I’m not focused on replenishing my closet, I very much enjoy the inspiration that your style posts bring.

  15. Katy says:

    Ditto. On all fronts.
    ES was indeed an enormous shock; Liz has been a role model for us all.
    Simplify, reflect, and focus seem to be my watchwords for now.
    Stay true to yourself.

  16. Kelly says:

    Thank you for another beautiful post, and for sharing your heart. I’m looking forward to your patio reveal.

  17. Cathy says:

    Thanks for a thoughtful update. Life has been tough with the pandemic. For example, summer trips were curtailed, but we soldier on. You have built a structured, thoughtful blog that offers a comfortable place to visit. Thank you for that. Stay well.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    My backyard has also changed my life during this quarantine! The majority of time we spend with friends is outside on our patio. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see where that fire pit is from when you do your backyard reveal!